Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif feels this is the perfect time for India to include maverick batsman Hardik Pandya in the Test side for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Hardik Pandya made a match-winning 22-ball 42* against Australia in the second T20I in Sydney to help India seal the T20I series.
Given the phenomenal track record of Virat Kohli in Australia or the great form of KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan, it was expected either of them to emerge as the top most batsman in the white-ball leg of India's tour of Australia. But, on the contrary, Hardik Pandya, who was supposed to have a litmus Test as a specialist batsman at the top-level after succeeding in the role in IPL, has taken everything by storm as he has posted scores of 90, 28, 92*, 16, and 42 in five games of the tour thus far, winning Man of the Match awards in two of India's three wins so far.
Pandya was the leading run-scorer in the ODI series as he blasted 210 runs in three games at an average of 105 and a strike-rate of 114.75. After failing in the first T20I, he was again back to his element as he made an unbeaten 22-ball 42 to help India seal the second T20I and the T20I series in Sydney on Sunday in a big chase of 195 after India required 72 runs off last six overs with Kohli getting out in the 17th over.
Former Indian middle-order batsman Mohammad Kaif wants Hardik Pandya to be included in the Test side for the four-match Test series against Australia starting from December 17 in Adelaide after the three-match T20I series finishes. It is an opinion echoed by Indian supporters as well given India might miss Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for a major part of the series.
Kaif tweeted, "hardikpandya7, with an average of nearly 90, has emerged as India's go to batsman in white-ball cricket, behind @imVkohli. Time is ripe for Hardik to be added to the Test squad, in this red hot form worth holding him back in Australia."
.@hardikpandya7, with an average of nearly 90, has emerged as India's go to batsman in white ball cricket, behind @imVkohli. Time is ripe for Hardik to be added to the Test squad, in this red hot form worth holding him back in Australia— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) December 6, 2020
When Hardik was asked on his possible call-up in the Test side, he had stated that, "It's a different ball game, I think I need to be, I mean I don't mind but at the end of the day, the call is on the management. So, yeah, I don't think I can say much about it."
Pandya has a whopping average of 68.57 against Australia in ODIs while he averages 41.50 against the Kangaroos in the shortest format. Pandya had a phenomenal IPL 2020 as well, where he played blazing knocks for Mumbai Indians in their title-win. Besides, KL Rahul was earlier picked for Tests against Australia on the basis of his IPL run, so it won't be a surprise if India add Pandya to the Test side on the basis of white-ball exploits.